Re: poly: Free Speech

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Fri Apr 10 1998 - 15:30:03 PDT

At 02:33 PM 4/10/98 MST, you wrote:
>I have a philosophical preference for "total free speech" ...
>I've always wondered if something like this could work.
>false complaints, false compliments.
>genuine disputes, due to miscommunication etc.
>name changes, false ids, mistaken ids
>too-effective, too long-lived reputation damage ...
>We've got libel laws to cope with some of the problems, but
>the consequences are sometimess either harsh or crazy. ...
>If we take free press literally, it allows forgery and some frauds.
>Instructions for the commission of a crime are problematical.
>Few governments would ignore the publication of military secrets.
>The whole copyright tarball. Medical malpractice; unlicensed
>lawyering; computer viruses; tobacco advertising; etc.
>Anyone got new ideas?

I can perhaps see laws limiting publishing military secrets or
coordinations of intents to commit crimes. But if this issue
is that someone might make a false claim that someone else might
believe, I see no real externality, and hence to reason for limits.

Imagine that someone could voluntarily place themsleves at risk of
libel prosecution. "You should believe me because they could sue
my butt off if they could prove I'm lying." People who don't do
this might be believed less on average. But this seems to be
a matter bewtween the person who speaks and the person who decides
what to believe. I don't see why other people should have much say
over their choice.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Fri Apr 10 22:33:57 1998

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